Christophe Maout’s city of light


Christophe Maout, HomeLux

Christophe Maout, HomeLux

Paris earned the nickname of ‘ville lumière‘ (City of Light) from having been an ideological home to the age of enlightenment and for it’s famous street lights. Like these lights, the 19th century Haussmanian architecture of the city has come to typify the French capital in most outsiders’ imagining of the city. So Christophe Maout‘s vision of Paris in HomeLux might come as a bit of a shock. HomeLux is shot on the city’s periphery, specifically off the boulevard périphérique, the main ring road surrounding the city. The périphérique ferries traffic around the city and is one of the few areas of Paris where towerblocks appear regularly. Many of these blocks bear the name of major brands in the form of brightly-coloured neon crowns, an advertising practice that is forbidden within the center of the city. The series struck me as a kind of allegory, a preserved city, suspended in time, surrounded by an army of advancing towerblocks shouting their commercial messages at the constant flow of cars circumnavigating the city. The rooftop perspectives in these night exposures give the buildings a different quality, their neon halos seeming to give each building its distinct personality. I met Maout at a dinner last December and, as he gave us a lift home, we drove past many of these buildings lighting up that freezing winter night. A very different view of the city of light.

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